Anniversary of Karakoram Highway (1978 - 2003)
|Date of Issue (October 01, 2003)||
Highway (KKH) has a total length of about 1300 kilometers in the most
impressive and desolate landscape. It passes through three great mountain
ranges i.e. the Himalayas, Karakorams and Pamirs. Most of the road is
overshadowed by towering barren mountains and a high altitude desert that
enjoys less than 100 millimeters of rain a year. Indus River flows through
the Karakoram Highway for over 200 kilometers. Here KKH together with
the Indus divides the mountain ranges of Himalayas and Karakoram Range
and winds around the foot of Nanga Parbat, (one of the tallest peaks of
the world). The Highway then leaves the Indus for Gilgit, Hunza and Khunjerab
rivers to take on the Karakoram Range, which has 12 of the 30 highest
mountain peaks in the world. By the time the road reaches the Khunjerab
Pass (4,733 meter height), it crosses the high Central Asian plateau before
winding down through the Pamirs to the fabled Chinese City of Kashgar,
at the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert.
In March 1963, Pakistan and China signed a historic border agreement.
Three years later, the two countries agreed to construct a road that would
provide a hitherto non-existent road-link for mutual benefit. The Highway,
a symbol of Pakistan-China Cooperation, took ten years to complete. The
Highway is an incredible feat of engineering and an enduring monument
to the 810 Pakistanis and 82 Chinese who lost their lives during construction
work in what is probably the world's most difficult and unstable terrain.
In 1986 the border at Khunjerab was opened for travel and business. The
road has spurred the commercial activity between the two countries. It
has also provided a cheaper and convenient instrument for contact between
Pakistani and Chinese people who for centuries were insulated by a hostile
Karakoram Highway has a strategic importance that overarches the whole
region. It forms the Asian 'high road' loop that binds Pakistan and China
and can also serve as a link between China and the Central Asian states.
Karakoram Highway is a marvellous symbol of Pakistan-China cooperation
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